After a tough, dry year, many livestock producers are struggling to decide how long they can wait to put animals on stressed forage stands.
According to David MacTaggart, a University of Saskatchewan Masters student, a general rule of thumb is to try to wait until around the four-leaf stage before turning animals into grass-based pasture stands.
That’s because the first growth is fueled by root reserves from the previous year.
“If we graze quite early in the growing season before there’s enough plant material above the ground, that will then deplete the energy reserves that our forage stands have, and they will be weaker when they try to re-grow.”
And after a stressful year, like 2021, it may take even longer for the stands to grow to the appropriate staging this spring. Something many producers may struggle to accommodate.
“I do understand that in the conditions that we’re in, people have to make some compromises based on their feed ability, the business that you run, and the economics. So there’s compromises on both sides.”
Listen to the full interview with David MacTaggart on The Bovine: Forages, wild pigs, and a whirlwind trip to Ottawa.